Courtesy of Top Rank
Former amateur stand out Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8) shocked the boxing world earlier this year when he claimed the IBF Featherweight title and defeated Australian Billy "The Kid" Dibb. Now the man dubbed "The Mexican-Russian" seeks his first title defense.
Gradovich, originally of Igrim, Russia though now based in Oxnard at the Robert Garcia Gym, will be taking on Argentinian Mauricio Javier Munoz (26-3, 12), otherwise known as "Chucky".
Gradovich, as mentioned above, is trained by Robert Garcia and this has seen him sharing a gym with some of the sports best fighters. Not only has he been alongside Mikey Garcia (current WBO Featherweight champion) but also Brandon Rios and Marcos Maidana. It's this level of activity in the gym which has helped Gradovich becoming the fighter he is today.
With boundless energy Gradovich is a pure pressure fighter who throws a lot of shots to both the head and body. His shots aren't concussive but they do accumulate and really wear fighters down mentally and physically. Technically his game is solid though unspectacular and there are holes in it, though he overcomes most of them with his heart and work rate.
For those fans who recognise the name of Mauricio Javier Munoz, he is best known as a former world title challenger having faced the then WBC Super Bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka back on 2011. In that bout Nishioka stopped Munoz in the 9th round with a stunning left hand that sent the bruised and swollen Munoz down for the count.
Interesting for Munoz that was his first fight outside of South American and it was also his first against any sort of a notable name. Since the loss to Nishioka, Munoz had moves to Featherweight and has also scored his most notable victory, a highly debated split decision over Cuban Luis Franco. Funnily it was Franco who was supposed to fight Dibb though retired and Gradovich got the opportunity instead.
In terms of Munoz as a fighter he looks very strong but is incredibly basic in everything he does (much like a number of the B tier Argentinians). He's not a big hitter but he is tough and will look to have a fight with people if they don't run from him.
Unfortunately for Munoz his willingness to engage in a fight is unlikely to serve him well against a man whilst not outstanding technically is better than Munoz in almost every way. Gradovich is busier, naturally bigger, hits harder and more technically rounded than he Argentinian challenger.
With the styles seemingly likely to gel well, we'll admit we are expecting this to be a very fun fight and one that could very easily steal the show, despite feeling that it could be a bit one-sided in favour of Gradovich.
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